Blatche is in shape and has eyes set on Gilas sweep of Japan, Chinese-Taipei
Andray Blatche makes up for lost time in Gilas practice. Marlo Cueto

ARRIVING in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Andray Blatche wasted no time re-integrating himself to Gilas Pilipinas' system ahead of its first match in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers in Japan on Friday.

The Gilas naturalized player attended the team's morning practice at the Meralco gym on Sunday and was one of the early birds for the evening training session at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Right in the middle of his stint with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers in the Chinese pro league, Blatche looks in pretty good shape as he continues to recover from a calf injury.

“I’m great. I’m in good shape so, you know, I’ve been playing overseas in China. I’m just trying to get back from injury and be on the court and playing,” Blatche said.

With Gilas going full throttle before leaving for Japan on Tuesday, Blatche is confident that he will quickly get re-accustomed to the system of coach Chot Reyes in no time.

“I mean, we had a practice earlier, so it was pretty much comfortable with the offense, the defense, and the players and the coaching staff so it’s a quick adjustment for me,” the former NBA player said.

As tiring as the week is bound to be, Blatche has his eyes set on a Gilas sweep of its first two qualifiers against Japan on Friday and against Chinese-Taipei three days later.

The 6-foot-11 center said a sweep is just what Gilas needs ahead of its match against powerhouse Australia in February.

“I’m just looking forward to winning, wherever we are, our main focus is winning,” Blatche continued. “So we’ll go to Japan, get a win, come back here and get a win. That’s the goal.”

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